The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced in a tweet Sunday that veterans and their beneficiaries will have new banking and financial service options, including receiving their benefits via direct deposit.
The agency's announcement is part of the Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP), a partnership with the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) established in December 2019, which aims to give America's heroes and their families a safer, faster and more inexpensive way to receive and manage their benefits.
The program connects veterans and their families to participating banks, including the Armed Forces Bank, Bank of America, First Arkansas Bank and Trust, Fort Hood National Bank; Fort Sill National Bank, Regions, and Wells Fargo, according to the Military Times. In addition to opening a bank account for those who don't have one, the program also provides veterans and their families with money management tools and financial literacy services to help protect themselves from fraud or identity theft.
The VA delivers approximately $118 billion annually in benefits and services for Veterans and their families, ranging from disability compensation, pension and fiduciary, education, home loan guaranty, vocational rehabilitation and employment, life insurance, and transition and economic development.
There are approximately 250,000 veterans and beneficiaries who receive their VA benefits through a pre-paid debit card or paper check who may not have a bank account.
The announcement comes following a letter to the Biden administration from the Military Family Financial Readiness Coalition earlier this month.
The organization urged the president to ensure military and veteran families are given "strong public-private partnerships, expert resources, access to secondary sources of income via military spouse employment, information and choice when it comes to military retirement, and clarity."
"Financial readiness is the key to the health and wellbeing of military and veteran families and the future of our all-volunteer force," the letter states. "These are the vehicles that will enable our families to be financially fit and mission ready."
Anyone with questions about the VBBP should call the the Department of Veteran's Affairs at their toll-free number, 1-800-827-1000.